Post Office fears closure as card account deal faces axe

November 11, 2008 12:00 AM

Paul Rowen MP - Criticising the Government's stance on Post Offices!The owners at Spotland Road Post Office fear they may have to shut down if the Government scraps the Post Office Card Account scheme.

Only a few months ago the Spotland Road office was spared after it was earmarked for closure under the Government's reorganisation of the Post Office.

News was leaked this week that the Government could axe the card account after the Post Office bid to renew the £1billion contract, which expires in 2010. The Post Office admitted any Government decision on the renewal of the contract was 'of critical importance' to the future of Post Office branches.

The card account contributes most of the annual business at Spotland Road.

Postmistress, Sheila Munsadia said: "After the great news that the campaign to save our Post Office worked, news that the Government could strip our shop of the card account is devastating. Most of our business is generated by this account and if it goes I think we'll have no option but to shut.

"It's a kick in the teeth and I hope the public will join us in protecting this vital service."

The work and pensions secretary, James Purnell MP, promised the long-awaited decision on the future of the Post Office card account would be taken "very soon".

A Post Office spokesman said: "The decision on the Card Account contract to replace the current Post Office Card Accounts in April 2010 is of critical importance going forward. This crucial decision is clearly central to the future of the branch network and Post Office Limited has submitted a very competitive bid."

Rochdale MP Paul Rowen, Lib Dem Work and Pension's Shadow Minister said: "The Government should have made an announcement on this months ago, but they have delayed and delayed, and we can only assume that they have done this to delay bad news.

"This Government are effectively stripping Post Offices of key services, then using the excuse that nobody will use them as an excuse for closure.

"I think the Government should think long and hard about this and a decision to award the contract to anyone other than the Post Office will create havoc with our Post Offices and lead to more closures. Many Post Offices, especially in places like Rochdale rely heavily on these accounts. Any Postmaster will tell you that people who use these accounts spend as much as £6 to £8 on extra items.

"The scrapping of this popular card account will affect millions of pensioners and others who rely on pension and benefits payments to make ends meet."